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The first thing you'll notice when you get back into the dating game is that it's very different than it was before you were married.  The biggest change is usually online dating.  While it may have been around before you were married, it's really come a long way and become one of the most popular ways for people to find dates.  

Online dating makes meeting someone new a lot easier.  However, it can also be a great hookup platform.  If that isn't what you seek, it's important to be upfront with your date if it seems as if his/her intentions are moving in that direction.

What are some things I should know when meeting someone new?

Don't meet in a private location.  Regardless how many times you have talked, chatted or texted, this is dangerous and can be construed as an invitation for a sexual encounter (sad but true).  If your new companion cares about you, he/she will understand.

If you aren't interested in a sexual encounter, never go back to a private residence regardless if your date implies his/her intentions otherwise.  Some people are classic manipulators and will say anything to get you alone.

Meet for a drink or cup of coffee before committing to a "date".  This brief, "lets meet in person" encounter in a public place allows you to see if you both like each other.  Sometimes one person is attracted to the other, but the other would like to leave after the first five minutes (making a long-date miserable).  It gives you a chance to discuss dating interests and relationship goals at your first meeting. 

When online dating, you should know what you seek when meeting someone and only go out with those who share similar goals (e.g. nothing serious, long-term, friendship first, etc.) . 

Be cautious of the "let's wait and see " response.  Of course you'll both "wait and see" if you two are compatible, but you should know what each other seeks to avoid wasting your time with the wrong person, among other things.  If you meet someone outside of online dating sites, the response may be understandable because neither necessarily planned to meet someone or enter into a relationship.  But, you should still be cautious.

Don't give too many personal details in your online profile or by text or instant messages.  If your date get's weird or comes on too strong, you want to make sure they don't cyberstalk you or know too much about you.  Most have good intentions, but some people are just creepy.  So be cautious until you have been on a few dates.

Once I start dating someone, how soon is too soon?

You are an adult.  Unless you have religious reasons to wait, expect both of you to first fall in love or have other reasons to wait (if so this should be discussed early in the relationship), you should have safe sex when you are comfortable to do so.  That being said, it's important to think about how you will feel about it later. 

If you aren't too close to your dating companion and you think he/she will drop you in a hot second if you don't want a sexual relationship right away, then it's probable your date is just looking for sex.  If that isn't what you want, then don't worry if he/she never calls after you say "no".  It's likely the relationship would never go anywhere but in his/her bed.  So, no loss if you never get a call back because you want to wait.

Consider how you would feel if you said "yes" and you never heard from him/her again.  If that would not be a problem, then practice safe sex and have at it.  Just remember, if you do, don't beat yourself up over it later.  Enjoy the moment and don't overthink it.

Morals people!

Your morals are yours alone.  Don't let anyone tell you who to be, what's right or what's wrong.  Times have changed since many of you dated before you were married, so be prepared for "sooner than later" expectations of a physical relationship to occur.  Remember, stick to your own ideals and choose what's right, when it's right for both of you.  Just don't let anyone tell you that everyone on online dating sites is okay with casual sex.  Nor is everyone in today's dating scene into casual encounters.  You don't want to be with anyone who judges your morals on either side of the morality judgement zone.  

Be yourself and respect your body.  Share yourself with someone who respects you, as well, and understands your interest in practicing safe sex.  Some people may not like it, but if they care about you they will understand.


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